How To Sublimate A Photo on Cotton/Colored/Black T-shirt Step by step?

For centuries various techniques have been used to print fabrics, and clothes (t-shirts, etc). These techniques have been traditionally used to print pictures and designs on white polyester only. 

But with the advancement of technology sublimation printing is becoming a very popular way to decorate and customize T-shirts or fabric. With sublimation printing, we can sublimate cotton, colored or black t-shirts and clothes fast and cheaply. 

This article will discuss how to design and print a t-shirt for sublimation with various techniques.

Before getting into techniques let’s take an overview of sublimation printing :

What is Sublimation?

In simple words, In sublimation printing, we transfer a design onto a cloth or textile by using ink or heat. Special sublimation printers, paper, and special ink are used for this purpose. It’s a game-changer in the world of the fabric industry because it enables us to print on a variety of garments. 

Textiles and materials can be dyed using sublimation. Deposition or de-sublimation is the inverse of sublimation. 

Also see: What is Sublimation Printing? and How Does it Work? Complete Process

Now heading toward the transferring techniques

The sublimation printing process is very easy. You can easily sublimate both sides (front and back) of a t-shirt, sleeves, or entire t-shirt using these three heat transferring techniques discussed below: 

  1. Heat Press
  2. Cricut Press
  3. Household Iron 

How to sublimate Tshirt using a heat press

 Sublimation transfers are an excellent way to create custom polyester apparel using a heat press machine. Sublimation transfer works best on white or light-colored fabrics because of the heat press machine.

As a first step, we print our designs on sublimation paper using sublimation printers and dyes. The next step is to place the printed image on a T-shirt and then adjust the setting of the heat press for sublimation. Now press it using a heat press machine to transfer the design from the sublimation paper to the T-shirt. Heat the press to 400°F and use a medium pressure of 32-38 PSI to transfer ink from fabric to paper.

In a heat press, the image will change from a solid to a gas state, allowing the ink to penetrate the pores of the t-shirt, metals, glass, or polyester. ( See more about: How To Sublimate A T-shirt Using A Heat Press)

We recommend using a sublimation printer designed especially for heat press printing (Printers for heat transfer) to achieve optimal printing results.

It is necessary to have these items;


  • Polyester and PVC 
  • Coated sheet of Aluminium or ceramics tiles 
  • Polyester cotton 
  • Glass 
  • Mug 
  • Nylon(at low temperature )
  • Rayon (just like cotton )
  • Polyethylene and polypropylene
  • Wood and metal 
  • Polypropylene bags 
  • Snowboards and floor mats 
  • Sports and fashion apparel

How to sublimate a t-shirt with an iron

Unfortunately, we can not sublimate large objects using a household iron. But if we want to refine very tiny things quickly and right away, then household iron might be enough. You’ll need a small enough object so that it can fit inside the iron slot with no gaps. Sublimating items with iron requires a flat surface since most iron is plain and dull. 

In this process, place the printed design on a t-shirt or any small object, such as a small book or plate, that fits inside the sweet area of a home iron and has no irregular surfaces, and then heat it using a household iron. Avoidingstandard blurry results in the sublimation transferring process require intense pressure on the flat surface for one min. Small circular bracelets, earrings, and name tags may be fine with a normal iron. 

In general, using iron is a bad idea for sublimation. Due to the high risk of ghosting, a lack of pressure, and a wide variety of temperatures, it isn’t possible to sublimate using an iron.  ( See more about: How To Apply Sublimation Transfers With Iron)

It is necessary to have these items;

Material that can be sublimated using an iron press

  • Mugs 
  • T-shirts 
  • Bracelets 
  • Bookmarks 
  • Plates
  • Books etc

How to sublimate a t-shirt  with Cricut

Cricut easy press is the best solution for the vast majority of individuals who work with iron. It is recommended to use a Cricut Easy Press over a heat press for t-shirt printing. Because the Cricut  Press takes much less time to heat up than the heat press machine. The Cricut EasyPress works like a household iron used to add iron-on materials to our creative projects. In 1 min or less, you will get professional iron-in results.

It gets hot fast! In less than 3 minutes, the Cricut easy press can reach 330°F. It is compact, portable, and easily transportable. It requires no software and is simple to use. 

To sublimate a t-shirt with your Cricut press, simply place the printed transfer sheet over the t-shirt and press for 30 seconds with light to medium pressure. When you are finished, You can easily detach the transfer sheet and complete the process. (See more about How To Sublimate A T-Shirt By Using Cricut Easy Press)

It is necessary to have these items;

  • Siser glitter transfer vinyl 
  • Weeding tool
  • Easy press 2 
  • Easy press mat
  • Sublimation printer 
  • Sublimation ink
  • Cricut machine 
  • Sublimation paper 

  Material that can be sublimated by using CRICUT ;

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